While viticulture can be trace back to Ancient Egyptian culture, the propagation of the vine throughout the Mediterranean can be attributed in large part to the Greek culture. At the center of Greek culture for much of history is the city of Athens, which in turn is surrounded by the wine region known as Attiki or Attica. It is Attica where, according to Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of wine, gave knowledge of winemaking to a human, Icarius, as payment for his hospitality to the god.
Located north of the Peloponnese, Attica has been mainly associated with Retsina, a traditional Greek wine has been aromatized with the addition of resin from the Aleppo pine tree. However, being so close to Athens, the interest of international tourists in Greek wine has spurred on a modernization of Attica’s wine production, decreasing the emphasis on Retsina and favoring a style of wine more recognizable to foreign customers.
The climate in Attica is hot and dry during the summer months, and many grapes that can thrive must be drought-resistant and able to weather intense sunshine. The terrain within Attica is quite varied, as the low-lying plains near Athens rise up to mountainous terrain as you head north from the city.
Savatiano and Rhoditis, two of the main white grapes of the area and often used for Retsina, are indigenous varieties that are being cultivated more forrefreshing, dry table wines showing a combination of lightly floral to savory. Merlot, Syrah, Malagouzia, Assyrtiko, Xinomavro (ks-ee-no-MAH-vro), Cabernet Sauvignon, and Agiorgitiko (aye-yor-YEE-tee-ko) are all earning prominence in the vineyards, as modern winemaking methods are starting to become more widespread, including the use of oak barrels for extended aging.